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3/01/2012

Boys and Hurls

Story Sent in by Scott:

Vanessa and I were out on a walk after a first-date lunch when she turned to me and said, "I'm pregnant."

She didn't look pregnant, and I asked her, "For how long?"

She replied, "For just a few weeks."

I said, "I appreciate you letting me know. I probably wouldn't want to pursue a relationship with someone who's pregnant, though."

She stopped walking and asked, "Are you serious? I'm pregnant. It's not like I have AIDS. Just wait nine months and then I won't be pregnant anymore."

I said, "Right. Then you'll have a child."

She said, "And that makes me horrible?"

Before I could respond, she opened her mouth wide and made a loud sound, like the clearing of her throat. She did it over and over.

"What are you doing?" I asked her.

"Trying to puke on you," she replied, "I've been puking non-stop since I got pregnant."

I backed away from her and she went on, "It's only fair. You think I'm diseased or something, so I might as well play along, right?"

"Right. Bye." I hurried away from her, and didn't hear from her until over a month later, when she wrote me an email to let me know that she hadn't been pregnant: she had just ill with a stomach bug. She also called me all sorts of nasty names, but at that point, it didn't much matter to me.

14 comments:

Oh wow.

First, I want to say: seriously, there's no excuse for Vanessa's attempt to puke on OP. That's really a crazy overreaction on her part.

That said, OP doesn't come off so well either - no small feat, since he's the one telling the story here. Even in OP's rendition, he comes across as a supremely insensitive person. Rather than asking Vanessa what her plans were, or giving her a chance to expand on the context (maybe she was raped, maybe she's just serving as a surrogate mother...), OP rushed to state the equivalent of "geez, nice meeting you, I'm outta here." Was it really necessary to be so harsh right off the bat? A far kinder approach would have been to listen to Vanessa for at least a few minutes (surely he had at least a few minutes to spare...) and offer nonjudgmental support. Afterward, if he still felt he wanted to break things off with Vanessa, he could let her down at that point - he could simply say he needed to run, it was great meeting her but he just didn't feel any chemistry, and best wishes.

Really, both OP and Vanessa reacted badly.

Woman here: Sorry, but if a guy told me he had a kid (or had a former girlfriend who was pregnant), I would be well within my rights to say, "Wow, even though things were going well here, I'm not ready to pursue a relationship with someone who has a child (or will have a child)."

In this version of the story, Vanessa didn't offer much besides, "I'm pregnant". She could have followed up with more info, but she didn't. So, OP followed with his own information. If she didn't like it, move on to the next fellow.

Besides, she was either confused about what pregnancy entailed or she - I'm sorry - terminated said pregnancy. All's well that ends well, I say.

I'm completely with OP on this. For one thing, if I was pregnant and that meant a guy didn't want a relationship with me I'd rather he told me right up front. For another, if I was in the same situation I'd have done exactly what OP did. I don't think he was under any obligation to ask her about her plans or the context either - frankly if someone tells me they're pregnant my eyes glaze over immediately. I'm glad there are people that love and want children, because I wouldn't be here without people like that, but I can't think of much more boring than listening to a stranger tell me about her pregnancy.

Thanks guys (using "guys" in the gender-neutral sense).

Certainly OP was well within his rights to decide that he didn't want to date someone who was pregnant. I think very few people would dispute that.

What I object to here is OP's sudden rush to get away from her. I think generally, you're only justified in dropping a date like a hot potato if your date suddenly says or does something that proves them to be a real creep. Here, at the point OP decided to get the heck out of there, Vanessa had not proven to be a creep. She was a few weeks pregnant. Was she planning on continuing the pregnancy? Was she serving as a surrogate for an infertile friend? Or was she simply planning on being a single mother? These are important questions, and maybe Vanessa would have raised them herself. But Vanessa did not get a chance to follow up with more information, because OP rushed to declare "I'm outta here" right after she said she was pregnant.

That is all I argue for. A few minutes - literally three or four minutes - of listening, coupled with - if warranted - a bit of nonjudgmental support. Then bail at that point. I don't think that's too much to ask.

If you read this in the context of Vanessa being raped and possibly confiding a traumatic incident to the OP, then yes, the OP does come off as rather insensitive.

If you read this in the far more likely context of Vanessa having had drunken unprotected sex with another guy a few weeks before this date, then the OP actually comes off as extremely tactful.

In either context, however, the OP did Vanessa a favor by letting her know BEFORE she had the baby that children are a bad choice for somebody who wants to date. The bottom line is that a majority of men would rather not get into a long-term relationship with a woman who has a child by somebody else. This is not to say that either party is a horrible person, but from a cost-benefit perspective, it's a significant drawback. Why take on all that financial and legal liability when there are plenty of people out there who don't come with those strings? I mean sure, once you're in love that doesn't matter, but people don't fall in love on the first date, which means that anybody with a child generally has to demonstrate higher value in the initial phase of a relationship to prove that they are worth the extra effort.

I apologize if this offends any pro-life advocates out there, but it's the plain truth: kids will wreak havoc with your dating life, and by making her aware of that the OP helped her make a more informed decision about whether to keep the child or not. (And let's not be naive - it's unlikely that it was a stomach bug.)

I got the impression that he was just being frank, but wasn't actually running to get out of there until she went batshit.

Sorry, a few quick additional points:

1) It's a different situation altogether if someone is a parent. We are not faced with that situation here. Vanessa was not a parent. She might not be planning on being a parent (see my previous post).

2) It's also a radically different situation if a man has an ex who's pregnant. There, we would be confronted with the additional uncertainty of what the ex is planning on doing. Even if the man didn't want the pregnancy to be continued, the ex could very well carry the pregnancy to term anyway. There is no need here to consider that scenario.

3) Re: Mellor, a date may be boring at times. But that's not an excuse, I think, to immediately drop them like a hot potato. It's certainly acceptable to cut an awkward or boring date short - I've done that myself. But if a topic has just come up, I think it's courteous to wait a few minutes for a more opportune time to end the date.

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True - OP did drop her like a hot potato without getting the whole story, and there could be any number of reasons for Vanessa to be pregnant that did not have horrible decision-making involved. A few more minutes wouldn't have hurt, and given the context of the conversation it would have been perfectly natural to ask follow-up questions. That's actually a really good point.

It could be argued that things like pregnancy, children, being bald, etc are all potential dealbreakers that should be revealed before the first date, but I'm just so impressed by your fluency and ability to convey your points precisely that I'm just going to concede the point now, before you start working some linguistic jiu-jitsu on me. ;-)

Aw, thanks Wolfie, that's really nice of you to say so. ;)

I don't think he did drop her like a hot potato - I agree with Marie (below) - all he did was let her know this meant he wouldn't be pursuing a relationship, which was the right thing for him to do. THEN she started trying to vomit on him and THEN he left. She didn't really give him the opportunity to be polite and ask questions, she just started dry heaving at him. I do understand that you see OP as being rude, but I just read him as being honest and then being weirded out by the strange retching date.

I think he did the right thing. She's obviously a nutjob.

I wouldn't want to get involved with a girl THEN find out she has a kid. It's an extra burden I am not prepared to deal with and they have to just accept that fact.

On another note, has anyone ever been so sick like that for ... weeks? Sounds ultra fishy to me. A stomach bug is like 2 days tops usually. Sounds like she was just dumb.

I had food poisoning for ten weeks before the antibiotics worked. It really sucks. She was probably late because of the illness too. Also, vomiting only starts at like six weeks.

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